Saturday, November 18, 2017

There Must Be Something in the Water

Did you know I had a blog before there were such things as blogs? Neither did I, yet before I became a reluctant blogger I tried two brief stints as an enthusiastic one. My first attempt was at the end of the last century (I’ve waited all my life to say that phrase) and was merely a column on my personal Web site (remember when people had personal Web pages in the days before Facebook and MySpace?). It was entitled “rAnts and Raves” because it had these cool JavaScript ants crawling across the Web page. I know, but it was 90s and the Internet was new.

I ran across several of these posts locked in stasis in a time capsule and I thought I would share them with you over the next few weeks. Think of it as summer reruns in the fall. My first thought as I reread these words I penned so long-ago was, Wow, the more things change the more they stay the same. Then I realized how far we have come. In this first post from 1999, a prominent white man was accused of abusing his position of authority and power to solicit sex from a 13-year-old girl; today, U.S. Senate candidate Judge Roy Moore of Alabama is accused of abusing his position of authority and power to solicit sex from a 14-year-old girl. Clearly, in the intervening 18 years the age of nonconsent has been raised from 13 to 14.

There Must Be Something in the Water

Thursday, September 23, 1999 - Have you noticed lately how people in positions of power and responsibility in both the corporate world and government have been saying and doing outrageous absurdities without the slightest thought as to the inappropriateness of their actions or the effects on the institutions they represent?

It seems to have begun when the president of the United States unzipped his pants for a dalliance with a girl young enough to be his daughter. To paraphrase Monica Clark, when we elected him we knew he was horny; we didn’t know he was stupid. How can someone spend his whole life working to rise to the most powerful position in the world and then blow it (no pun intended) so stupidly?

You would think that people who work so hard to achieve the pinnacle of success would exercise a modicum of common sense when it come to their comments or actions. Not so, apparently. Last week, Patrick Naughton, head of the Walt Disney Company’s Web sites, was arrested and charged with using the Internet to solicit sex with a 13-year-old girl. Let me rephrase that: this guy’s job is to make both the Internet and the world’s largest children’s entertainment company look good, so what does he do?

Now consider the comments made this week by two men seeking the U.S. presidency. Pat Buchanan stated America should not have entered World War II to fight Hitler. If he were president – and he’s trying to be – he would have let Hitler conquer Europe and complete his genocide. Meanwhile, former P.O.W. Sen. John McCain was quoted as having been “outraged and deeply hurt” by Buchanan's remarks, while himself quipping to reporters that “the reason Chelsea Clinton is so ugly is because her mother is Janet Reno and her father is Hilary Clinton.”

Today, the NASDAQ suffered its fourth largest point drop in history after comments from Microsoft President Steven Balmer, who told reporters he thought the technology sector was overvalued, along with the price of his company’s stock. “There’s such an overvaluation of tech stocks it’s absurd,” he told a conference of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. So the man who is paid (some would say absurdly overpaid – Balmer is No. 4 on the Forbes 500 list with a net worth of $23 billion) to promote his company tells a press conference his company’s stock is absurdly overvalued.

So what is going on? Is there something in the drinking water making top executives and national leaders loony? How ironic that George C. Scott died today. I guess his character in Dr. Strangelove was right all along.

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